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Why choose between your two favorite dog breeds when you can enjoy the qualities of both in one fluffy friend? Goldendoodles are an adorable hybrid of the Golden Retriever and Poodle, known for their friendly disposition, intelligence, and affection for their family.
As a hybrid breed (some would say “designer dog”), you can’t quite predict what your Goldendoodle will look like when he grows up, but there are some things you can control.
Your dog’s diet, for instance, is your responsibility, and choosing high-quality dog food will help your puppy grow into a healthy adult. Here’s what you need to know about the best dog food for Goldendoodles.
Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs
The Goldendoodle looks nothing like a wild wolf, but his nutritional needs are surprisingly very similar. Dogs are what pet nutrition experts call “scavenging carnivores,” and they’re different from true carnivores like cats. This simply means they are primarily meat-eaters, but they can survive on plants in a pinch.
A species-appropriate diet for dogs features high concentrations of protein with moderate fat content and limited carbohydrates. Protein is essential for puppies to grow and develop properly. And in adult dogs, it supports lean muscle mass and healthy body weight. Fat gets a bad wrap in the human world, but it actually provides your dog with a concentrated source of energy and supports the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
When choosing food for your dog, make sure you’re selecting one for your dog’s appropriate life stage and dietary needs. The American Kennel Club recommends your dog’s diet include a mixture of meats, grains, fruits, and vegetables to provide your canine with essential nutrients. Grain-free diets reached peak popularity in the past few years, but recent studies show as long as your pet doesn’t have a grain-specific allergy, grains can be beneficial to your dog.
Does Breed Affect Nutritional Requirements?
Different dog breeds don’t have significantly different nutritional needs. The best dog food for Goldendoodles will have just as much protein and just as many essential nutrients as any other dog.
When it comes to breed-specific requirements, energy is the primary concern.
The average dog needs about 30 calories per pound of bodyweight for healthy maintenance. Small breeds have a fast metabolism and may need more calories than large breeds, who have a higher risk of obesity. The Goldendoodle technically comes in three sizes: miniature, small, and large. Mini Goldendoodles may need a higher concentration of calories than larger sizes, but it all really depends on your dog’s activity level.
To get an estimate of your Goldendoodle’s calorie needs, use a canine calorie calculator online and adjust your dog’s resting energy requirement (RER) according to his age, spay/neuter status, and activity level. From there, you can monitor your dog’s body condition and adjust his diet as needed.
Something you should know about your Goldendoodle is a common issue among large breeds: gastric torsion or bloat.
Bloat is a life-threatening condition in which the stomach fills with gas and twists in on itself, obstructing blood flow and causing your dog to go into shock. Eating too quickly and eating too much at once can increase your dog’s risk. Poodles are particularly prone to bloat, so your Goldendoodle may be as well.
You’ll want to consider not only breed-specific nutrition for your Goldendoodle but also his age. Puppies need more calories to sustain growth, while obesity is a bigger concern in senior dogs. High protein content is essential for dogs of all ages.
All puppies grow quickly, but excessive growth puts large breed puppies like Standard Goldendoodles at risk for bone and joint disorders. As such, it’s recommended to limit a small or standard Goldendoodle puppy to three meals a day and monitor his growth. Miniature Goldendoodle puppies may need four small meals per day to sustain their metabolism and prevent hypoglycemia. The calcium to phosphorus ratio in your Goldendoodle puppy’s diet is important as well—a 1:1 ratio is ideal.
What to Look for in Goldendoodle Dog Food
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has established minimum nutritional requirements for dogs and encourages all commercial dog food manufacturers to follow them.
According to AAFCO food nutrient profiles, puppies and lactating females need a minimum of 22% protein and 8% fat. Adult dogs require at least 18% protein and 5% fat to maintain their health. If a product meets these minimums, it will carry a nutritional adequacy statement on the label. But keep in mind adequacy is not the same as quality. These are the bare minimums, and your dog can benefit from much higher levels of protein and may need more fat, depending on his energy requirements.
It’s also good to know that AAFCO’s primary role is to regulate the production, distribution, and labeling of pet food products. They’re not responsible for enforcing regulations. AAFCO has rules for what manufacturers can say on the label, but these claims can be misleading. It’s up to you as a dog owner to know how to interpret this information to find the best dog food for your Goldendoodle.
Here are some general things to look for:
- Real animal protein as the first ingredient (ideally two of the top three)
- Healthy sources of animal-based fat (like chicken fat)
- Limited content of digestible carbohydrates (like whole grains and veggies)
- No artificial additives (colors, flavors, and preservatives)
- Limited use of synthetic supplements (whole foods are a better source)
Check the calorie content of the food as well. Every product is different, so you’ll need to compare the calorie content per cup with the feeding recommendations on the label. Unless your Goldendoodle needs to lose weight, avoid low-calorie recipes because your dog will need to eat a larger volume of food to meet his energy needs. Large meals can increase your dog’s risk for bloat.
The Best Dog Food for Goldendoodles
Your Goldendoodle deserves the best food you can feed him, so take the time to evaluate the options and make a smart choice. Here are our top picks for the best dog food for Goldendoodles.
Formulated for small breeds, this puppy recipe is perfect for miniature Goldendoodle puppies. It features deboned chicken as the main ingredient with real fruits and veggies in a meaty broth.
Featuring real natural chicken, brown rice, and pumpkin, this small breed recipe delivers a balanced diet for your miniature Goldendoodle. The formula contains plenty of fiber to aid your pup’s digestion, and the addition of glucosamine and chondroitin gives extra support to your dog’s immune system and joints.
Small and standard Goldendoodles do well on high-quality canned foods formulated for all breeds. This recipe features deboned chicken as the primary ingredient and is free from soy, dairy, and artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors.
Made with ancient whole grains, this high-protein dry food delivers real meat ingredients like roasted bison and roasted venison for a rich, meaty flavor your dog won’t be able to resist.
While bison and venison are the top ingredients, this recipe also includes ancient grains like sorghum, millet, quinoa, and chia seed, which are naturally higher in protein.
This ancestral grain formula contains high levels of protein and a healthy dose of vegetables, fruits, vitamins, and minerals. Formulated for medium and large breeds, this chicken and pomegranate recipe is ideal for small and standard Goldendoodles.
Slow-cooked to preserve nutrition, this canned dog food features 98% turkey ingredients supplemented with wholesome natural ingredients like pumpkin, peas, and dandelion greens.
Standard Goldendoodles may do well with a large-breed recipe like this Nutro Ultra formula. It features a trio of proteins including chicken, lamb, and salmon with an assortment of superfoods for a boost of nutrition.
Designed for affordability and nutritional quality, this large breed formula features fresh salmon and menhaden fish meal as the top two ingredients with brown rice as a digestible source of carbohydrate.
American Journey Large Breed Salmon & Brown Rice Protein First Recipe
This dry dog feed, formulated for adult dogs, leads with salmon to support your dog’s lean muscles.
Supplemented with glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support, this trout and sweet potato recipe delivers complete and balanced nutrition formulated for your senior Goldendoodle’s unique needs.
The Goldendoodle has an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Barring serious health issues, you can maximize your dog’s lifespan with a healthy diet like one of the recipes recommended above. Learn how to give your Goldendoodle the healthiest start in life with our guide to Goldendoodle puppy care, and read on for more articles about this special, loving breed.